The month of March. With it comes the final days of classes, warmer weather, and student union elections. As the voting period for the election nears, many classes are graced with the presence of election candidates who use the first minutes of classes to provide speeches to unsuspecting students. More time is lost listening to speeches a second time, since each candidate repeats their speech to different classes. Hopefully, this passive campaign of listening to speeches and lost class time doesn’t bother students too much. Will that change during the voting period, when students are stopped in the halls and asked to vote every time they approach a voting booth?
When walking past a voting booth, students will be surrounded by the legion of election people and asked, “Have you voted?” Since ignoring someone is rude, I plan to reply, “I’m not voting,” and quickly walk away. I will probably be in a rush because I tend to not plan for time on my way to class to debate my voting preferences. Perhaps a sticker should be provided to voters, proving they voted. Only students lacking stickers would be questioned and thus a market for fake stickers would be born.
The only real cost of this election, besides time and being accosted on your way to class, is the amount of paper each candidate uses for posters they place so close together on walls. Excessive amounts of election signs may be part of federal, provincial, and municipal elections, but why do they need to be part of UTM’s? Is there no other way of acquiring knowledge about candidates besides posters on walls? It goes without saying, but I will anyway, that these posters have no use after the election. Not much use during the election either, ’cause I suspect they’re widely ignored.
In case I have misled readers so far, I am not against all elections. I am against repetitive, “in-your-face” campaigns. Student government, elections, and campaigns are all good learning experiences for students and for improving student life at UTM. Forcing an election down students’ throats for three weeks of the year is not. Since writing itself is not actually a means to change campaigning, perhaps a petition or referendum for the 80% of students who didn’t vote last year would be a good idea.